11 May, 2016

GETTING THE MOST OF A WHOLE CHICKEN: BONE BROTH



Every week we roast a whole chicken and use the meat for either my mother-in-law's chicken curry, lentil soupchicken salad, or something else! Once we've used the meat, we get another whole meal or two from what is really the most beneficial part of the bird.

Bone broth!

My method is nothing new, and it surely isn't genius, but it is so easy that there's really no reason not to try it!

Bone broth is incredibly rich in minerals that are easily absorbed into the body. It is also rich in gelatine which heals and strengthens the gut, and glucosamine which relieves arthritis and strengthens joints. And it costs pennies. You can read more about the benefits here.

The way we maximise our consumption and also get every ounce of goodness from our chickens' bones is through perpetual bone broth. And it's easy.

The idea is that we always have bone broth at ready. I make this is my crockpot and whenever we dip into the pot throughout the day, I just replace the same amount of filtered water to replenish it (example: if I remove a pint of stock, I add back a pint of filtered water). You'll know you've taken all the nutrients from the bones when you pinch them between your fingers and they crumble. With a good chicken, they should last about a week. Once we're to this point I strain the broth using a fine stainless steel strainer (like this), pour into resealable freezer bags or Kilner jars, and put it into the freezer for making soups and stews.

What you add to your stock is up to you. I like to do a whole bulb of garlic, sliced in half, several onions sliced in half (there is no need to chop these), several carrots and their ends, and some celery. We also do a dash of sea salt, whole peppercorns, and bay leaf.

Once this has been simmering for 24-48 hours, we start using it. At breakfast we sip a mugful with a slice of crusty homemade bread (like the one pictured above), buttered with real butter. We turn it into soup, make rice pilaf in it, or cook up Julia Child's Chicken Supremes-- a family-wide favourite. The options are endless, and with it simmering on your countertop constantly-- perpetually-- it's always right there ready.


Perpetual Bone Broth

ingredients:

frame of one whole free-range chicken
several bay leaves
1-2 teaspoons Himalayan or Celtic sea salt  (we like this or this)
a few black peppercorns
filtered water (we use water from our Berkey, which you can buy here, or here if you're in the UK)
organic vegetable scraps 

Method:

Add the chicken bones, vegetable scraps, garlic, onion, and bay leaves to crockpot. Fill with enough filtered water to completely cover bones, plus a bit extra. Sprinkle in sea salt and peppercorns. Cover with lid and set to low.

As you need stock, simply replace what you've taken with more filtered water.